In the summer, we are so busy with the garden and yardwork and taking care of animals.
The days fly by even though we have more daylight to enjoy.
But in the winter, the days can seem to drag on. We enjoy the rest from the summer activities, but we need something to keep us occupied from thinking about the cold days.
Today, I want to give you a list of things you can learn this winter to increase your homesteading skills and a link to a resource to help you master it.
Most of these you can do even if you don’t have a bunch of land for a homestead yet.
In the Kitchen
Bake bread- One of my big goals for last year was to learn how to bake bread. Baking your own bread can help you cut costs, monitor ingredients and just makes the house smell yummy! You can read the post here on how I did it and what recipe was the best —> Simple Bread Recipes and How They Compare.
Ferment food- Learning how to ferment food is something I haven’t done yet, so I can’t offer any advice. Making things like sauerkraut, fermented pickles, and sourdough products is a great skill to learn for health and self sufficiency. Check out this post from Attainable Sustainable for more information —> Fermented Food: 50+ Recipes to Get You Started
Make butter- Homemade butter is pretty easy to make, either with a mixer or just in a jar. Check out this tutorial from Living Well Spending Less —> How to Make Butter in a Stand Mixer.
Make cheese- Homemade cheese is a little more complicated than butter, but it is a great skill to know. Check out this mozzarella tutorial from Hapa Nom Nom —> Homemade Mozzarella
Make yogurt- If you have an Instant Pot, making yogurt is easy! Check out this tutorial from Whole Natural Life —> Instant Pot Yogurt.
Make homemade vanilla extract- Homemade vanilla extract is easy and oh so yummy! Check out this tutorial from Tasty Yummies —> How To Make Homemade Vanilla Extract
Try cooking some new meals- Winter is a great time to try out some new soup recipes. If you have an Instant Pot, this post is for you —> 50 Instant Pot Soup Recipes.
Make bone broth- Bone broth is so healthy for you and is easy to make. Check out this tutorial from Whole New Mom —> How to Make Homemade Bone Broth
Make jams and jellies- We usually think of making these in the fall, but if you have berries in your freezer, winter is a great time to learn how to make jams and jellies. Check out this tutorial from Community Table —> 17 Small Batch Jam Recipes
Prepare the Garden
Plan your garden- This is one of my favorite winter activities. Planning for spring/summer is so fun and gives you so much hope for the future. You can check out this post for how we planned last year’s garden —> A Garden Design to Accomplish Our Homesteading Goals
Order seed catalogs/seeds- Seed catalogs are like a breath of fresh air in a long winter. Once you plan your garden, you’ll want to look through catalogs or online to see which varieties you want to plan and then order your seeds. In this post we discuss seed catalogs and why we still need them —> Seed Catalogs: Do You Need Them?
Start seeds indoors- Once you get those seeds in the mail (or if you have some left from last year), it is time to start those seeds indoors. Tomatoes and peppers are the best candidates for starting indoors so that they have time to get big before spring. In this post, I give some tips for seed starting —> Seed Starting for an Abundant Harvest.
Start a small compost pile- Now you may not think about composting in the winter time because of the cool weather. But if you haven’t composted before, it may be a great time to get into the habit. Just put a small trash can (with a lid) in your kitchen or just outside your back door. Then practice putting in scraps after each meal so you can build up your pile. In this post, we tell you how to start a compost pile and the do’s and don’ts of composting —> Compost Household Scraps into Nutrient Rich Soil
Canning Your Food- Do you have food in the freezer that still needs to be canned from the harvest? Winter is a great time to do this because you aren’t as busy as you are in the fall. In this post, we discuss canning methods and tips to make your canning a success —> Food Preservation Series #2: Canning Your Food.
Learn gun safety/target practice- Do you own a gun? The winter might be a great time to practice gun safety, cleaning your gun or going target shooting. Check out this post by Survival Life —> Shooting Fundamentals
Knot tying- Not just for boy scouts, knots can come in handy in a survival situation. Check out this post from Thrifty Outdoorsman —> Top Knots Every Outdoorsman Should Know.
72 hour kit- In an emergency situation, a 72 hour kit is essential. Check out this post from Simple Family Preparedness —> The Best Food for Your 72 Hour Kit.
Food storage- Winter is a great time to organize and buy your food storage. This post will help you get ideas on how to get started —> Food Storage Tips To Get You Prepared.
Basic first aid & CPR- The winter time is a great time to take a first aid & CPR class. Check out this post from Beyond the Tent —> Wilderness First Aid Basics: Surviving Injuries in the Outdoors.
Make soap- Homemade soapmaking is a skill that may take some time, but there are so many varieties you can make. Check out this tutorial from DIY Projects —> How to Make Soap at Home.
Make candles- Making homemade candles is one of those things that isn’t as hard as it looks. This post will help you get started with homemade beeswax candles —> The Newbie Guide to Making Homemade Candles.
Sewing- Sewing is an essential homesteading skill. Whether you are mending clothes or making larger items, sewing can save you alot of money. Check out this post for easy sewing projects from Cool DIY Ideas —> 20 Easy Sewing Projects for Beginners.
Homemade beauty products- Many of the beauty products you can make at home are so much better for you (and cheaper) than what you can buy at the store. Check out this post for some ideas from The Country Chic Cottage —> Handmade Beauty: Make Your Own Beauty Products.
Knitting & crocheting- Do you need something to do with your hands while you are watching tv? Knitting and crocheting might just do the trick! Check out this beginner knitting tutorial from Faithful Provisions —> How to Knit: Get Started Knitting.
Quilting- What better way to keep your family warm and cozy than by a large quilt you made yourself? Check out this beginners quilting tutorial from The Gracious Wife —> Quilting for Beginners: 5 Part Series.
Cleaning & Organization
Sharpen tools- Keeping you tools in good working order is important. Check out this post from Popular Woodworking Magazine —> 16 Tips for Sharpening
Homemade cleaning products- There are so many chemicals in cleaning products from the store. It is healthier for your home and family to make them yourself. In this post, we give you some recipes to get started —> Quick, Non-Toxic Cleaning Solutions with Natural Ingredients
Organize your pantry- Getting your pantry organized can help you from having food go bad that you would have eaten if you knew it was there. Check out this post from Decorating Your Small Space —> 10 Ways to Organize Your Pantry.
Declutter your house- Many people have New Year’s resolutions to declutter their house. If you feel like that would help you and your family, check out this tutorial from Setting My Intention —> 10 Lessons Learned after a Year of Decluttering.
Make laundry detergent- Homemade laundry detergent doesn’t have the chemicals a store bought detergent has and is cheaper too. Check out this tutorial from Love and Laundry —> Premium Homemade Laundry Detergent.
Around the House
Carpentry- Do you need some new furniture in your house but don’t have the money to buy it? Learning basic carpentry skills can save you tons of money and can give you a great sense of accomplishment when you complete a project. Check out this tutorial from Pioneer Settler —> Basic Carpentry Skills Guide for Homesteaders.
Home remodeling/painting- Do you have home repair or decorating projects that you need to do? Check out this post about painting tips from Popular Mechanics —> 14 Painting Secrets the Pros Won’t Tell You.
These last 5 aren’t things we need to learn, but rather things we can do to enjoy the winter and slower pace of life.
Read a book- I love to read books in the winter. From the Little House on the Prairie series to homesteading books like Welcome to the Farm. Reading by the fire with some hot cocoa is the best way to spend a cold afternoon.
Watch a good documentary- I love to learn from others, and documentaries are a great way to do this. Check out this great list of homesteading documentaries you can watch on Netflix or Amazon this winter —> 49 Best Homesteading Documentaries for Streaming at Home
Catch up on a tv show- You might not have time to watch your favorite show in the summertime, so now is a perfect time to catch up.
Take a long bath– Spoil yourself a little with a long bath and some candles. Soften that dry winter skin and relax.
Visit with a friend- Do you feel like you have been so busy on the homestead that you haven’t had a night out with friends in forever? Winter is a great time for catching up with our friends (and family). Those relationships are important and we don’t want to lose them.
Well, that’s it! Does that help you get to thinking of things you can accomplish this winter? I hope so.
What things are you doing this winter? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks!